By: Andrenna Williams
Here at Uncommon Grounds Cafe, we truly believe that ministry is most effective when it flows from relationships. We build our events and programs around the needs, desires, and concerns of our customers, fellow community members, and friends. It’s more beneficial for us to focus on what’s been clearly identified as being important to those around us vs. guessing or assuming what people need/want and then hoping that what we come up with sticks.
One area where I'm seeing this “organic flow” play out almost flawlessly is in watching 2 of our kitchen staff take complete ownership over our weekly Open Mic night: from coming up with the menu for the night’s dinner special, to working with volunteers, to hosting, and even getting door prizes! For the past year or so, Herb and I have been trying to figure out a way to “revamp” Open Mic. We've wanted to be able to provide a more supportive environment for the performers and a welcoming feel for newcomers, while maintaining an atmosphere that was conducive to family fun and community fellowship. Our issue was finding a way to do this without disturbing the current flow or upsetting the regulars. In other words, allowing this “change” to happen and flow “organically.”
Over the past 3 months, both Tessa and Paul have worked hard together to bring a fresh feel to Open Mic, and it's worked!!!! Each week, a delicious meal is prepared which almost ALWAYS sells out, there is a dedicated team of volunteers who not only show up to do the physical work but also to “listen,” encourage, and love on the guests, they have created an atmosphere that fully supports and gives respectful attention to EVERY artist that goes on stage, and they have even started doing weekly raffles and small games with free coffees, Big Breakfasts, and café merch as the prizes. Tessa and Paul both have a strong ability to connect with people “organically,” and are sensitive to their needs. It has been such a blessing to watch these two team members love this ministry and desire for it to be the best that it can be. I am honored to be managing them both, and look forward to seeing what they will do in 2020!